The domestic season has just finished and we are straight into the international stuff. A quiet week to kick us off with only 2 games but here are my predictions.
OK there is the African CAR Championship on as well but that’s not something that I know anything about. So I’m going to stick with the better known games.
Samoa v New Zealand
This is an historic game as the All Blacks play their first test in Samoa. For Samoa this will be a massive game even if it is just the start of perpetration for the Rugby World Cup. Passion can only over come so much lack of preparation so I’m expecting a passionate but scrappy performance.
For the All Blacks not only is the beginning of their season but they are also missing 17 players to the Super Rugby final. There is still plenty of star-dust and quality in the squad though. I expect that the All Black machine will still win by a couple of scores, as the players fight for their World Cup slots.
New Zealand by 18
Fiji v New Zealand Maori
The Maori have not lost since they played England back in 2003, yup the side that went on to win the Rugby World Cup. Since then they have beaten the British and Irish Lions, gained revenge over England and beaten Fiji twice. Those two wins over Fiji were only by 2 and 4 points though.
For Fiji this is the start of their preparation for the Rugby World Cup. So I’m expecting there to be some rustiness. For the Maori this is one of only 2 games this year so no warmup. The Maori setup are used to coming together quickly and the NZ way of playing a similar system helps. I’m backing the Maori to make this the 19th win on the trot but not by a large margin.
New Zealand Maori by 3